Messaging platform Slack is expanding its Workflow Builder tool by adding new automation features that aim to make workflows more efficient.
A user could, for example, automate time off requests on a Slack channel without having to make others go through multiple pages or apps. The tool is pretty limited with what it can do, however, but that will soon change with this update.
New branching tool
Within the coming months, workflows will be made more shareable as you will be able to send them as links in Slack channels or in direct messages, according to the announcement.
It’s a simple copy and paste procedure resulting in an interactable preview, rather than a plain hyperlink. The receiving person can either approve or deny a request with one click. These links can be pinned to a Slack channel or tucked away in the saved items.
The update doesn’t end there as early next year, Workflow Builder will get several new features including a branching tool.
This branching tool works on “if-then” statements that can affect how a workflow functions. Say, for example, you send a request via this branching tool to your manager asking for a week off work. Your manager then has the option to either approve or deny the request.
If your manager approves, then you will get a message stating that you have the week off. If your manager denies the request, then you will get a message stating you don’t have the week off and explains why.
At glance, this seems like a very minuscule change, but apparently, it’s one of Slack’s most highly requested tools. The company explains that managers currently have to create entire new workflows for requests per person. Slack can be bogged down by tedious processes so the branching tools aims to alleviate that.
The other features are less impactful, but still welcomed. Workflow Builder will allow people to automatically create channels by inviting others and pinning important documents. The tool will also support more of Slack’s integrated apps, but the announcement neglects to say which ones. And new notifications will appear informing people if they have pending requests.
While it’s made of small changes, the update appears to be more about the sum of its parts rather than having one killer feature. Slack claims users have been able to achieve a lot with the current version of Workflow Builder as workflows have grown by more than 160 percent in 2022 compared to last year. The hope is this number continues to grow with more people using Workflow Builder.
We asked Slack if it could give us a more concrete launch date for everything in the Workflow Builder update. A company representative got back to us, only to reiterate the update’s rather vague launch window. So expect the workflow link feature to come out by the end of this year.
If you’re interested in making yourself more productive at work, check out our list of the best productivity apps; both free and paid.